Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

San Francisco Getting Back On The PACE Wagon!

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing is one of the awesomest clean energy programs out there. Basically, here’s the summary: 1) your solar power system (or energy efficiency upgrade) is financed through government-issued bonds*; 2) you pay the bonds back through higher property taxes for a decade or two to come; 3) you save more money on your electricity bill from day 1 than you pay in higher property taxes. Furthermore, if you decide to sell your house, the beneficial system just carries over to the new owner.

PACE financing started in Berkeley in 2008. In 2009, Vice President Joe Biden planned to roll it out across the United States. Then, in 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency cut the program off at the knees all across the nation with the claim that the loans posed an unacceptable risk to mortgage lenders, even though the program allowed homeowners to cut their electricity bills and electricity is one of the last things people decide to stop paying when in financial difficulties. The argument was based on the fact that the PACE loans attached to the properties as liens, which would make paying them back a priority over paying back mortgage lenders.

Despite no change in perspective on behalf of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, PACE programs have started to resurface across the US, including in the giant and sunny states of Florida and California. In the case of California, a $10 million fund has been set aside just in case a bank forecloses on a home with PACE-funded solar or energy efficiency improvements in order to take care of any losses that federal agencies would face in that case.

GreenFinanceSF, San Francisco’s PACE program, is now supposed to relaunch in early 2014. San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell has introduced a resolution to re-open the program and get back on the PACE wagon.

Notably, over 100 California cities have implemented PACE through the HERO Program, part of Renovate America, which was set up in response to the death knell to conventional PACE programs that was delivered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. In April, as we reported at the time, the number was 41. In Western Riverside County, California, where HERO (which stands for Home Energy Renovation Opportunity) was launched in 2011, over $100 million worth of projects have been approved, involving over 530 contractors and created an estimated 2,500+ jobs. Talk about an economic success story!

PACE California

"Time is on our side," Farrell told SFGate regarding his drive to restart GreenFinanceSF. "It would be a game-changer if the FHFA did an about-face, but there's already a real movement out there to push forward on this."

"I know San Francisco homeowners are eager to contribute to the city's greenhouse gas reduction goals, and this is a great way to do that and save money and create jobs for our local economy," said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

And SFGate also notes that the federal government may actually change its stance on PACE sometime soon. "The Housing Finance Agency may soon get a new director, North Carolina Rep. Mel Watt. His appointment had been filibustered by Senate Republicans, but Democrats changed the filibuster rules last week, easing Watt's path to confirmation."

"We think he'll provide a fresh look at this when a fresh look is warranted," said Cisco DeVries, who drafted Berkeley's program.

*There is some variation in whom the financing partner is; sometimes it isn't the local government. In the case of GreenFinanceSF, it's going to be through private financing.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

EV Obsession Daily!

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.
Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! CleanTechnica recently published an article that I had...

Climate Change

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! Originally published by Union of Concerned Scientists, The Equation....

Air Quality

I became more aware of electric cars around 2013, but it was a few years later when conversations popped up with more people who...

Cap And Trade

For the last forty-odd years, the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has been a mainstay of the conservative movement and major force in...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.